The most followed contributor to video-sharing website Vine, 16-year-old Nash Grier, has come under fire for a video in which he insisted that HIV is “a gay thing” and shouted the homophobic slur “fag”.
He posted a video on his channel which started with a clip from an HIV awareness campaign. The clip says: “Get tested for HIV. It’s not a gay thing.”
The video then cuts to Grier, who shouts: “Yes it is! FAG!”
Grier has previously come under fire for a series of homophobic tweets from before he became a hit on Vine, as well as for a video saying that body hair on women is “gross” and should be shaved completely.
He is known for deleting such videos and tweets when criticised, and for only apologising half-heartedly.
YouTube personality Tyler Oakley shared the latest video before Grier could take it down (as he has since done). He tweeted:
Promoting a false stereotype that HIV only affects gays to his millions of teen fans is extremely dangerous. https://t.co/W6X9MUrgUK
— Tyler Oakley (@tyleroakley) July 6, 2014
Award-winning British journalist Patrick Strudwick also criticised Grier, tweeting:
Hi @Nashgrier, HIV is not a “fag disease”. Ignorance, however, helps spread the disease even further among the young and the heterosexual.
— Patrick Strudwick (@PatrickStrud) July 8, 2014
The North Carolina teen is the most followed contributor on Vine, and usually uses his channel to post clips featuring pranks, jokes and his four-year-old sister.
With 8.7 million followers, he has more than celebrities such as Ariana Grande (2.4 million), Ellen DeGeneres (2 million) and Wiz Khalifa (1.7 million) as well as the official Vine account (1.4 million). The second most followed account, KingBach, only has 7.3 million followers.
Grier’s video comes only weeks after a US survey found that gay, bisexual and transgender men in America are at greater risk of HIV infection due to misconceptions and a lack of information about their health risk.